Going Natural At CMLC!
Creative Minds Learning Centers are dedicated to providing the best practices and continuing to cultivate imagination and growth in our kiddos on a daily basis. Using natural playscapes at our schools is just one of the many ways that we are incorporating the latest trending research to help us achieve these goals.
What is a natural playscape?
The natural playscape (or natural playground) is defined as a space with as little man made components as possible. Using native plants, rolling hills, lots of trees; playscapes represent a natural place such as a forest. Playscapes are designed with the intent of bringing children and people back to nature.
Happy Valley's New Natural Playscape
Benefits of using natural playscapes in early childhood environments:
1.) Spending Time in Nature (including natural playscapes) supports human health and development:
“Spending time in nature is an important component of human health and development. For many, nature inspires curiosity, creativity and a sense of freedom. And playing in natural landscapes provides opportunities for motor development and sensory experiences not available in the classroom or even on traditional playgrounds.” Natural playgrounds allow for more creativity than traditional playgrounds, because the children are able to manipulate their environment through the loose materials found in nature. In one study, children who played on natural playgrounds scored higher on standardized motor skill tests than children who regularly played in traditional playgrounds. Because nowadays it is more difficult for children to experience nature, a natural playscape is important because it provides “a sensory experience” that can “strongly impact physical and cognitive development.”
2.) Children who use natural playscapes tend to be more active and use their imaginations more.
3.) Natural playscapes strongly support gross motor development.
"A rough and diverse landscape is perfect for improving a child’s motor fitness. In one study, it was proven that children who played in natural playscapes showed considerable improvements in motor fitness than those who only played in traditional playgrounds. Not only do natural playscapes improve the health and concentration of children, but the children prefer these playscapes to traditional playground equipment."
4.) Natural playscapes connect young children with nature and instil in them a sense of sustainability.
"Early childhood is a unique and critical time for connecting with nature. Sadly, in today's society children are spending less time outdoors than ever before. Natural playscapes are a way to reconnect our young children with their natural world. If we provide synthetic outdoor playspaces and place more importance on indoor play, what will children grow up knowing and feeling? As educators we need to help young children build a relationship with their natural environment so that they are invested in it's future."
To Learn more about natural playscapes and how to incorporate natural playscapes into your home, visit: http://www.childcareexchange.com/catalog/pdf/natural_playscapes.pdf